July 23rd, 2024

The Watch honoured with community justice award

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on June 22, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

The Lethbridge Police Service’s volunteer-based program The Watch is a winner of a 2022 Alberta Community Justice Award.
Awards in five categories were handed out on June 17 in Lacombe. The categories included leadership, innovation, community mobilization, partnerships and collaborations and service enhancements.
They celebrate Albertans who found ways to prevent crime and promote restorative justice.
“The Watch has been exemplary in demonstrating innovation, service enhancement, community mobilization and partnership all in working with the Lethbridge Police Service to create a safe community for all,” said Lethbridge Police Chief Shahin Mehdizadeh in a press release. He was at the awards with Watch manager Jeff Cove and two Watch members.
The Watch began operating in May, 2019 and its goal, according to an LPS press release, is “to make the community a safer place for all through social outreach, connection and intervention. It provides a highly visible deterrence to negative behaviours and crime and manages a range of issues and events that do not require police involvement.”
Since its inception, 106 people have served with the Watch. Presently, there are 32 people patrolling downtown on foot, acting as the eyes and ears of emergency service providers as well as social and community service agencies.
They also help in the case of medical emergencies, managing 32 emergency medical service events in the past year. Those included 13 instances where they utilized nasal Narcan and life-saving first aid.
Other winners included Jessica Buffalo of Legal Aid Alberta, Debbie Leitch of Rural Red Deer Restorative Justice, China Sieger of Peace Regional Restorative Justice, the East Calgary Ambassador Program, the Edmonton Police Service – Human Centred Engagement and Liaison Partnership, the Edmonton SHIFT Lab, Islamic Family and Social Services Association of Edmonton, Sarah Doolittle and her canine partner Fletcher of the Zebra Child Protection Centre in Edmonton.
Also given awards were Edson Citizens on Patrol, Kathleen Quinn of the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation in Edmonton, the Alberta Specialized Police and Court Support Network and the Emergency Order Protection Program of Legal Aid Alberta (Edmonton/Calgary).

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